Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 22 No. 7
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Elevate to study fan feedback on Purdue stadium

Purdue University wants to plan a major renovation to its football home, 94-year-old Ross-Ade Stadium, but first Athletic Director Mike Bobinski is bringing in Elevate Sports Ventures to get feedback from fans on what they want.

Elevate launched last year and touts market research as one way schools can uncover valuable insights into their fan base. At Purdue, Elevate will embark on a massive data-driven study to find out preferences for all of the things that go into the fan experience — parking, seat location and comfort, communication, concessions, technology and more.

The study will incorporate feedback from tens of thousands of Boilermakers fans.

“We’re coming at this a little differently than most traditional renovations,” Bobinski said. “It’s easy to sit around the conference room and think we know what our fans want, but we’d rather have them tell us.”

Purdue will work with designer Populous on the Ross-Ade Stadium improvements. “We want to be able to give the best direction possible to Populous,” Bobinski said. No timeline or budget has been established for the renovation. Bobinski hopes to have all of the data from the fan study by the middle of this year.

Purdue interviewed several agencies last fall. Tom Moreland, Purdue’s associate AD for strategic initiatives, had heard about Elevate and brought it in for an interview. Bobinski was taken by Elevate’s experience in working across several pro teams and facility projects. That might sound funny, considering that Elevate just launched last year and has only one other college client.

But Elevate comprises the San Francisco 49ers, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Oak View Group and Ticketmaster/Live Nation, and Al Guido, the 49ers’ president, doubles as Elevate’s CEO.

“Purdue represents a big step for us for two reasons,” Guido said. “It’s a nontraditional project. It’s not about selling tickets; it’s a lot more strategic than that. Not a lot of people are doing it this way.”

Elevate moved into the college space in September when it secured the University of Kentucky as its first college client. The deal with UK calls for Elevate to handle ticket sales and servicing for the athletic department.

Purdue already has a ticketing outsource partner. It signed The Aspire Group for ticket sales and marketing a year ago, so in this case Elevate will be working alongside a competitor at Purdue.

“We’d like to think we could become a prominent player in the college space,” Guido said. “We’ve got work to do; we just launched. But I think there’s enough business to go around, whether it’s premium, ticket sales, media, campuswide sales. … There are a lot of ways we’re going to see college sports morph into how professional teams are set up. We’ll see how we do. I think we can be some competition for some of these more established companies.”